Flipped Mastery

What is the Flipped-Mastery Classroom?

The flipped classroom, if you have come to this site you probably know a little something about what it is.  It’s pretty simple really, students prime themselves with knowledge before coming to class and are ready to apply this information in class through an activity, debate or discussion.  This is a great model that has shown proven results, and we will talk more about why we chose to use this method in the next post.  With this being said, what is the flipped-MASTERY classroom, and what makes it better and more effective that the “traditional” flipped model?  Simply put, in a traditional flip, or any class, students are asked to complete work and are given a grade and no matter the grade, students move on with the rest of the class to the next objective.  This is where the biggest difference comes into play.  The mastery model requires students to actually master the content before moving on.  This ensures that students are actually learning and not just floating along with the rest of the class, and as teachers, isn’t that what we are all trying to accomplish?  Figuring out how to get the students to prove mastery is a difficult task, so let’s go over the method that WE use to ensure our students are mastering the content.  

I’m not going to go into great detail about what the average day looks like in my class because again, that is another post, but I want to explain how the mastery aspect comes into play.  Once students have completed all of the tasks for an objective our

Student taking a quiz in the “Liberty Lab”

students are required to PASS a quiz to prove mastery.  Our students are NOT allowed to move on to the next objective until they have proven through this quiz that they know the content.  You may be asking, what do you consider mastery?  We believe that an 80% is the minimum that a student should know to prove that they have mastered the content.  A student will take the quiz and if they receive an 80% on the quiz they are able to move on to the next objective and keep that learning going!


So what happens if a student doesn’t prove mastery?  Do they just sit there in purgatory not knowing what to do?  Well of course not!  In the flipped mastery model, students are able to take the quiz as many times as they want until they prove mastery.  This alone brings up many challenges, and believe me, we have met so many of these challenges head on.  The biggest issue, how do you grade all of these quizzes and give the students their scores in time to know that they need to retake?  This is where technology comes into play.  We use a platform called Moodle.  Moodle is an amazing resource for us and we were lucky enough to have a teacher at another school in our district help set this up for us.  We run the entirety of our course from this platform and the main aspect to this platform is its quizzing and testing ability.  We are lucky enough to have a dedicated quizzing lab we like to refer to as the “Liberty Lab” where students can securely take quizzes.  

The “Liberty Lab”

When a student takes a quiz on Moodle, upon finishing, they immediately see their score.  There are options to allow them to see which questions they got wrong, targeting their review session.  My favorite thing about the Moodle quizzing feature is the ability to put a restriction on the time between attempts on each quiz.  We have set the quizzes to mandate ten minutes between attempts mandating time for the students to study, although they don’t always use this time wisely.

If a student hasn’t proven mastery, they have a minimum of ten minutes to review content for the retake.  They have many different options for what they can do during this time.   These options include, looking over their notes, rewatching the lecture videos, studying with a partner or asking their teacher.  Once students are ready to take the quiz they are able to retake the quiz in an attempt to get that 80%.

Another great feature of Moodle that allows us to use the mastery model is the ability to create question banks.  Each one of our quizzes has a minimum of 15 questions.  This means there is a possibility of the student taking a quiz 3 times and never receive the same question.  This ensures that students are mastering content and not questions.  DISCLAIMER no one likes writing test questions, and in order to make this work for us, we combined all of our tests and quizzes and made up hundreds if not not thousands of questions.  I’ll be honest, this was not fun, and I never looked forward to writing 20 new questions for my quiz on the New Deal programs late at night in January.  On the bright side, once it is done, IT IS DONE!  Now that we are in year 3, we just open the quiz and the magic just happens.  

What is the most important thing to get out of this post.  The mastery model requires students to master the content and doesn’t just let them breeze through the course not learning anything at all.  We have worked for three years to get to where we are and we would love nothing more than to share our experiences with you.  If you have any questions about anything that I have covered, please leave a comment below and I would love to help you out.  This model has helped to engage our students at a whole new level.  We dove in head first and it has turned out great for us, I know it can work the same for you!

Thanks so much for reading!  Check out my next post on a day in the You Will Love History classroom!

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